Wedding in Finnish Lapland
We visited Lapland again. This year it was the second time we have been there. One of our friends got married.The wedding took place in one of the national parks (Urho Kekkonen National Park) in the nature. The ceremony was at the bottom of Kiilopää fell. These hills or even mountains in the north are without forest vegetation and were formed during the ice age and eroded during the last ten thousand years to kind of flat shape. In Finnish they are called tunturi. Not a boring choice! The place where we stayed overnight is the center of the Finnish outdoor organisation and I can recommend it to everyone to stop by if you plan hiking there.
The theme of the whole wedding was nature. The bride, our friend, made sure all the decorations, boards, and their dresses are from reused materials or items from the nature. They prepared themselves everything they could. The wedding clothes used second hand materials from shops and old wardrobes, decorated with self-sewed flowers from leftover materials. The bride, the groom and their tailor friends, Saara from Rovaniemi and Rokita from Polvijärvi, did an excellent job.
Some of the guests wore also nature resembling clothes. Few others had Saami motives such as shoes or belt, or full Saami clothing. And to be environmentally conscious, for example, instead of rice we were throwing leaves and sprout to the newly wedded.
Saami people and reindeer herding
Saami people are indigenous people of Lapland. In Finland live about 10 000 Saami. In Sweden and Norway around 30 thousands in each country. All together in four countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia) about 100 000 people identifies themselves as Saami. They have own language and religion. Saami people used to live from fishing, trapping, sheep and reindeer herding. Nowadays in Finland about 1500 families live from the 200 000 reindeer, but not it is not limited to only Saami families. Norway and Sweden allow only Saami people in reindeer husbandry. In Finland everyone who lives in Lapland can have reindeer. This website has more info about reindeer herding if you would like to know every detail. Besides herding, tourism is another profitable activity. Lapland has millions of tourists every year.
And the food! It was typical Finnish; what else could it be? As usual, it started with salads. Unlike in Hungary, where salads are side dish for the main course, Finns eat it often before the main dish. With bread. The main course was reindeer which is not surprising as we are in Lapland. Reindeer is a very popular meat, in particular on special occasions. According to others (e.g. Karol) the tongue, the nose and the balls are especially delicious, and obviously very expensive delicacies. The side dish for reindeer was mashed potatoes and sauce was made of lingonberries.
Oh, and all the little table decorations were from nature. The timetable of the evening was written on recycled papers as well. A wedding cannot go without a cake. It was yummy cloudberry cake presented on tree trunk. One of the rarest and tastiest berry from the mires.
This was our first wedding which we have participated outside of Hungary and Poland (besides ours, of course). It was surprising to see that it was much more eating and talking than having games and dancing. At least in Hungary that is the usual way of spending your wedding day. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the wedding very much and it was great to observe Finnish habits and being part of a special day like this 🙂